Pellet Storage – How to Store Smoker Pellets
Pellet Smokers and grills are trending and becoming more popular in home backyards and outdoor kitchens every day. Perhaps you were gifted a nice pellet smoker or grill, and because you have the best friends and family in the world, they also gave you a few bags of smoking pellets. Now you are scratching your head trying to figure out how to store your smoker pellets so that they last and remain intact.
Sometimes we desire to try different pellet flavors and have to open multiple bags; while this is fun, it also means that now you have various opened pellet bags lying around the house. Most pellet manufacturers use natural products and ingredients without preservatives, meaning that pellets can lose their flavor, contour, and effectiveness if left exposed to humidity and the elements.
In this article, I will give you a few tips on how to store your smoker or grill pellets so they last and you can store hours of fun and be ready for the next cook.
Related: Vertical Pellet Smoker Reviews
What are cooking pellets, and Why they need to be stored properly.
Most manufacturers recycle tress at the end of their life and use special equipment to create fine wood dust from the tree.
Cooking or Smoking pellets are made from wood sawdust and, in some cases, a by-product of industrial operations. Pellets are found in different flavors, including apple mesquite and hickory. A pound of pellets can last about an hour or more, depending on the cooking temperature.
Wood sawdust is compressed to make the pellet, and by compressing the wood, it burns slower when heated, thus generating more smoke and lasting longer. If you just throw wood dust on fire, it will burn very quickly and turn to ash rapidly.
Why Should You Store Wood Pellets Properly
At some point in your life, I’m sure you have owned a piece of compressed wood cabinetry, perhaps a desk, dresser, or bedroom furniture. I’m also sure you likely have seen how compressed wood “bubbles up” when you spill your favorite beer all over it; yeah, I’ve done it too.
Compressed wood loves water and humidity, pressed wood acts like a sponge when exposed to moisture, and the same effect applies to compressed wood pellets. The goal when storing pellets is to keep them as dry as possible when stocking this fuel for long periods.
Most pellet manufacturers only use real wood without preservatives or chemicals, meaning the wood can lose its flavor over time. Using a seal-tight container to store the pellets might extend its life.
Storing Methods – How to store wood pellets for smoking
Keep The Bag
The first and obvious method is to leave the pellets in the bag. However, this is not always favorable as bags can tear, and also, many of us like to cook different kinds of meats using different wood pellet flavors. So if you have an apple bag and a hickory bag, you might need to open both when switching from cooking chicken to ribs or brisket. This means is hard to keep the pellets in a sealed bag at all time or until needed.
However, in less humid environments, the shipping bag might do the job, but I recommend monitoring the pellets every once in a while when using the shipping bag for storage. Using the packaging might not be the best way to store smoker pellets, but it is certainly the cheapest.
Try to keep the bags away from moisture, mold, or wet floors. Using the bag might not sound ideal, but in dry environments rolling the bag tight and using a few claps might do the trick. If you plan to use the remaining pellets in the bag in a few days and store the pellets inside your home where the air conditioner controls the humidity, you should be fine.
Storing Wood Pellets Outside
When storing the wood pellets outside, you will have to account for the elements, including rain, humidity, and sunlight. If storing the pellets outdoors is your only option, I recommend investing in a seal-tight bucket. Buckets with rubber seals designed to evade humidity will work best not only in humid climates but outside overall.
Some suggestions are using 5-gallon buckets from your local hardware store. However, our advice is to use containers with weather or humidity seals to keep the water out, especially if you will be storing the pellets outdoors or in basements.
A cool trick you can try is attaching the packing bag to the outside of the container or bucket to mark which pellet flavor is stored in the bucket. Many BBQ Pellet companies sell buckets and containers to store grill pellets, but a simple air-tight container will work.
How long can you store wood pellets?
If the pellets absorb moisture, they will come apart and start to breakdown into sawdust which will render them useless. If the humidity percentage is in the 10 to 15 percent range, wood pallets can last up to six months. If the humidity is higher than ten percent, the pellets can last one to three months.
Can you leave pellets in the hopper?
If you plan to use your grill often or cook almost every day, you can leave pellets in the hopper. However, keep in mind that hoppers are not airtight boxes, and moisture can get in quickly. The hopper is not meant for pellet storage. If you will not be using the grill soon or the grill is in a high humidity environment, the pellets might not last long in the hopper.
One Last Word.
Storing smoker wood pellets is not complicated; the main goal is to keep the pellets dry and preferably tightly sealed to keep the pellets from losing their natural flavor. The storing method doesn’t have to be complicated. Suppose you are using outdoor spaces like your garage or backyard; try to use airtight buckets to store the pellets. A pellet grill’s hopper is not the best place to store wood pellets, but if you plan on cooking often, it is not bad, especially in dry environments.
Enjoy Life, Get Grilling!